It is finally the time to wrap up my second semester! As I mentioned in my previous blog post, it was quite intensive. Well, today I will explain more about it. Please bear with me for the next few minutes because you are about to read about one of my unexpected decisions which I may have regretted.
First, let’s rewind to the autumn semester. Our course leader asked us to sign up for one elective, Junior Research Project (JRP) or From Science to Business. Honestly, I was not satisfied with the options, so I decided to check for other advanced or business courses. All in all, finding an elective course on your own is a complicated process. It should match the criteria of our biomedicine masters programme. One could look into doctoral courses given by KI, but the spots are limited. Based on the previous students’ experiences, I was not sure which elective was better for me. As a result, I decided to apply for both instead!
I signed up for the JRP as a Biomed master student and applied for From Science business course as a free-standing course (through University Admissions in Sweden). In this blog post, I will be reflecting on my experiences in each course.
From Science to Business (7.5 ECTS)
In this course, we have students from different universities like SSE, SU, and KTH. It consists of group works, seminars, assignments, and discussions. The course overlaps with biostatistics in the beginning and ends earlier than the JRP. There are only two evening classes per week. Several lecturers are invited to talk about their expertise, where we discuss the various stages of business development in the life science industry.
The aim is to introduce the business perspective to engineering/biomedicine/medical students while finance/economics students receive a broad picture of the biomedical industry. Moreover, students from different backgrounds worked in groups. Our group assignment was to investigate a potential field, as well as perform a market analysis/access for a new startup called CARTANA. Other groups also had exciting projects such as marketing strategy, customer analysis, market segmentation, and competitor analysis. Some of the lectures discussed venture capital, financing, reimbursement, and marketing/sales in life science. Since this course is 7.5 ECTS, my Biomed classmates had to write an extra assignment to fulfill the 9 ECTS criteria of our programme.
In my opinion, the lectures were a hit or miss. There wasn’t a common thread throughout the course. In spite of that, some excellent talks introduced healthcare business models, as well as essential strategies when releasing a new medical device in the market. Interestingly, we had a great opportunity to meet the CEO of CARTANA to discuss the project. If you end up taking this elective, I suggest keeping the lecture handouts as they might come in handy in the future.
NOTE: Spring 2019 is the last time this course will be given. There will be a similar course next year.
Junior Research Project (9 ECTS)
If you’re focusing on achieving an academic career, the JRP is the right choice for you! When you are trying to find a research project, check KI’s project database, email several research groups, and even approach the lecturer during breaks. If you think about exploring a new field, this is an excellent opportunity to try something new!
TIP: Finding a suitable research group is very challenging. Try to plan in advance to avoid any last min stress.
The main objective is to learn a new technique in the lab. Everyone went through different experiences since we worked on different projects. You work under the guidance of an experienced scientist. The duration of the project is six weeks, which includes writing a summary report and presentation. My project focused on investigating cell-cycle-targeting microRNAs as therapeutic cancer tools that I thoroughly enjoyed. Some of the techniques I performed were cell culture, restriction enzyme-based cloning, as well as computational work.
Finally, working full-time in the lab, plus attending the evening business classes demanded a lot of dedication and time management. Dividing my efforts between these courses was quite challenging. There was a point where I was exhausted in May and thought of quitting the business course, but I pushed myself forward to reach my goal. And I am really grateful for having great support from my business group. The knowledge I gained will be beneficial for my future career. Therefore, I do not regret taking these courses together. Hope I gave you insights onto these electives to be able to make the right decision for yourself!
Check out this useful blog from a previous student for more info:
Any questions about student life or biomedicine?
Contact me via my email. 🙂
LinkedIn: Sara Abu Ajamieh